The Benghazi Report has condemned the State Department for “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies.” Four officials have resigned, and a few more lesser heads are likely to roll. Secretary Clinton may have said she takes full responsibility, but she has successfully managed to avoid taking the blame. With the holidays fast approaching, she and senior White House officials can now wash their hands of the matter.
But the Benghazi report misses the point. The events of September 11 are a symptom of a much larger problem — the Obama administration’s entire Middle East policy has failed. And the problem is about to get much worse as the as yet unpunished but ascendant Al Qaeda and its affiliates contemplate what they might do next to attack Americans.
Less than two years ago, the entire region was at peace. Granted, it was an uneasy peace, but it’s a region where for thousands of years an uneasy peace was as good as it gets. Granted, many countries were governed by dictators, but at least they were pro-American dictators. Granted, some countries continually railed against Israel, but none of them were actually in a fighting war with Israel.
Fast forward to today. Everything has changed. The entire region is in upheaval. With our help, Egypt has replaced a pro-American dictator with what promises to be an anti-American Muslim Brotherhood dictator and Islamist constitution. We helped Libyan rebels topple their dictator, yet their new government is has failed to consolidate control. They are cowed by Al Qaeda affiliated militias and couldn’t – or wouldn’t – prevent the Benghazi attack and assassinations of our diplomats. Syria’s vicious civil war threatens to go from horrific to hellish as Al Qaeda sympathizers and Islamic extremists take over the rebel cause, chemical weapons go missing, and the ethno-sectarian violence spills over to infect Syria’s neighbors and threaten our NATO ally Turkey. Iran is on the cusp of becoming a nuclear power and the dominant power in the region. Any hopes that a post-Saddam Iraq would be a pro-American ally have vanished as Iraq falls increasingly into the Iranian orbit. We will end up fighting our way out of Afghanistan, as it descends into multiparty civil war once the last American soldier takes the last helicopter out. At best, countries will be governed by the anti-American Muslim Brotherhood. At worst, chaos will ensue. Political and economic chaos are waiting in the wings, and radical Islamists, terrorists and Al Qaeda expand their influence throughout the region.
If the chaos and upheavals continue, which seems likely, we could in a few years see a region stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to Pakistan which is anti-American and consumed by ethno-sectarian violence. The region extends from North Africa to the Middle East to the Arabian Peninsula to the Persian Gulf to Central Asia. It’s home to terrorists, much of the world’s exported oil and our long time ally Israel.
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